I recently wrote about 5 ways B2B marketers can optimize their LinkedIn advertising, including tips around ad copy, creative, targeting, and utilizing specific types of campaigns.
In this post, we’re going to take tips around targeting on LinkedIn a step further, exploring a few key options LinkedIn has to offer, and why this matters for B2B marketers. After all, 80% of B2B marketing leads from social media come through the platform, and 92% of B2B marketers use the platform more than other social platforms.
Matched Audiences on LinkedIn
In my last post, I discussed a few different options for targeting on LinkedIn. One of these is matched audiences. Matched audiences allow B2B marketers to upload lists of accounts for direct targeting. This can be used in a variety of ways, from targeting current customers, to partners, to retargeting website visitors, and to reaching actual target accounts.
Let’s take a look at the three ways LinkedIn allows you to use matched audiences:
- Website Retargeting: targeting users that previously were on your site
- Account Targeting: consists of uploading a list of specific companies
- Contact Targeting: uploading a list of email addresses of users
Matched audiences are an important way to reach the exact decision makers and influencers within your target audience on LinkedIn, ensuring you are using your budget and resources to the best of your ability and allowing for successful campaigns.
One additional way to take advantage of matched audiences on LinkedIn, is creating lookalike audiences of these lists. For example, if you’d like to reach specific target companies and your client is interested in additional companies that are similar to those on a target list, creating a lookalike audience of those companies is a good way to expand your audience as your budget and campaign goals allow.
Generally, I recommend starting with using matched audiences for targeting the LinkedIn members on your list directly in order to maximize your budget and ensure you are interacting with the most relevant companies and individuals. Then, if or when you would like to expand your audience, consider lookalike audiences for further reach.
Exclusions for LinkedIn Advertising
While LinkedIn provides multiple options for targeting parameters to include in your target audience, something that should not be overlooked is the option to exclude different audiences in order to ensure the members of your audience are as relevant as possible.
This becomes extremely important when clients have different requirements for lead quality and scoring such as location, company size, and job titles.
On top of these, there are a few areas to consider excluding in order to better refine your audience. These can include lists of partners, competitors, or current customers depending on the goal of the campaign. In addition, one option to consider is excluding target companies or individuals you are already targeting in another campaign.
While it’s okay and even often recommended to reach the same audience in different ways on LinkedIn, through targeting by job titles and industries in one campaign and through job function and seniority in another for example, excluding target companies that are already within a campaign can help to make sure you are using your budget as efficiently as possible to reach relevant users and avoid doubling up on messaging to the same companies.
To illustrate, the below audiences might both be in one campaign group:
- Target Companies and Job Titles
- Job Titles and Industries (Excluding Targeting Companies)
As you can see above, we are targeting specific decision makers from the target companies, as well as specific decision makers in the industries we’d like to reach as a whole.
Specific Target Audience Segmentation
Sometimes target audiences for different campaigns are from a range of industries and job experience. When this happens, it’s important to consider segmenting by industry and / or job titles, in order to refine your campaign messaging to speak to the specific needs or solutions for that specific audience. For example, if you are targeting the transportation and retail industries, you should segment them to speak to each industry separately.
As you begin segmenting your audiences further in order to reach specific individuals and industries, don’t forget to watch your audiences sizes. According to AJ Wilcox of B2LinkedIn, 20,000 to 80,000 is the sweet spot for audience size on LinkedIn, and from my experience, below 10,000 is where it becomes more difficult for campaigns to deliver and see results.
Depending on the goal of the campaign or type of ad you are running (Text Ad, Sponsored Content, or Sponsored InMail for example), the last, and potentially most important tip is to consistently evaluate lead quality, traffic quality, or engagements coming from your campaigns and specific ads.
Conducting ongoing conversations with clients around the lead quality in terms of a variety of parameters, including company size, location, and job title will be critical in adding or subtracting targeting parameters and exclusions, further segmenting audiences and adjusting ad copy and creative as needed, and ensuring your campaigns are as successful as possible.
In addition, reviewing the demographic data provided by LinkedIn around companies, job titles, industries, and more is critical to ensuring relevant interactions and clicks to your clients’ assets.
While LinkedIn is a relatively expensive platform when it comes to the paid social media space, the specific targeting and demographic of users on the platform makes it a critical place for B2B marketers to consider.
With these tips for refining your targeting and in turn, overall campaigns, you can work to ensure you are delivering the most qualified leads, engagements, or traffic to your clients.